The summer is usually a pretty low-key time for sports. The NHL and NBA are over, it’s still a couple of months before college football starts, and it’s still too early in the MLB season for the games to mean much.
But that doesn’t mean there isn’t anything worth watching! Right now, we’re kind of in a sweet spot for soccer, and even if you don’t love sports, I bet you love America, and even if you’re on the fence about America, and this election has you researching properties in Vancouver, I bet you still love people being kind to other people.
The U.S.Men’s National Team is playing in the Copa America tournament and just won a thriller of a quarter-final last week against Ecuador, which means they advanced to the semi-final today.
That’s reason enough to root for them, but their touching actions in the wake of the horrific massacre in Orlando should make you root a little harder.
There were the usual moments of silence at ballparks and stadiums around the country, but the USMNT took it much further than a perfunctory bowing of their heads. First, they released a new video that honors the LGBT victims of the shooting and sent a strong message of unity.
I don’t blame you for getting a little choked up watching it.
But their gesture didn’t stop there. On Thursday, USMNT captain Michael Bradley took the pitch against Ecuador wearing a rainbow armband with “One Nation” written on it to pay tribute to the victims.
I know it’s not a big deal, but it feels like a big deal. Professional sports still has a long way to go when it comes to equality and inclusion and the Men’s National Team stepped up in a very vocal and visual way.
But I’m not saying you should only root for America. Euro2016 is also happening right now, and there’s been enough insanity happening off the pitch to make it a must-watch. Disregard the disgraceful actions of some fans, who’ve been fighting and rioting in the streets, and instead embrace the kind of celebrating England fans did after defeating Wales 2-1 during their match last week.
The dudes in this bar got so stoked they rained beer down on everyone.
On the other side, here’s a Welsh fan BREAKING DOWN IN TEARS during the same game.
This is what soccer does. It makes you want to douse strangers in alcohol and break into unreasonable tears. How can you not love that?
Anyway, the USMNT have a semi-final match today and Euro2016 is still in group play, which means you have plenty of time to practice your beer-dumping celebrations.
Hemal Jhaveri is the Senior Social Media Editor for USA TODAY Sports Media, a resident of the District of Columbia, and, above all else, an awesome person. In the past, she’s worked as Executive Director of Digital Innovation at Politico, Executive Producer at AOL, and in various positions of prestige in worlds of politics and sports. She’s also contributed to an ongoing series on these pages titled Please Explain Sports, where she eloquently explains various sports and sporting activities to people who don’t follow sports that closely. Feel free to contact us if you have any timely or timeless sports-related questions you’d like Hemal to tackle.